Newsline for January 30, 2008

“Celebrating the Church of the Brethren’s 300th Anniversary in 2008”

“…See, I am sending you out…” (Luke 10:3b).


1) Brethren join in Butler Chapel celebration of rebuilding.
2) On Earth Peace delegation travels to the West Bank and Israel.
3) Young Center raises more than $2 million to earn NEH grant.
4) Efforts to preserve John Kline Homestead continue.
5) Brethren bits: Job openings, NYAC, disaster podcast, and more.


6) Shively resigns from academy to lead Congregational Life Ministries.
7) Hardenbrooks to serve in Nigeria before going to Sudan.
8) Rhoades to join On Earth Peace as peace education coordinator.

A webcast from Bethany Theological Seminary reflecting on the Historic Peace Churches’ international conference in Asia is posted at http://www.cobwebcast.bethanyseminary.edu/. The webcast recounts some of the many powerful testimonies of peace shared by participants from various Asian countries, with Scott Holland, associate professor of theology and director of Peace Studies and Cross-Cultural Studies; Donald Miller, professor emeritus of Christian education and a member of the planning committee for the conference; and Dawn Ottoni Wilhelm, associate professor of preaching and worship, who attended the second such conference in Africa in 2003. The statement from the conference is at www.brethren.org/genbd/newsline/2008/jan0308.htm. A photo journal is at http://www.brethren.org/pjournal/2007/AsiaPeaceConference&IndiaVisit.
For Newsline subscription information go to http://listserver.emountain.net/mailman/listinfo/newsline. For more Church of the Brethren news go to http://www.brethren.org/, click on “News” to find a news feature, links to Brethren in the news, photo albums, conference reporting, webcasts, and Newsline archive.

1) Brethren join in Butler Chapel celebration of rebuilding.

The weekend of Jan. 18-20 found a Church of the Brethren delegation of about two dozen people in Orangeburg, S.C., for the 10th anniversary of the dedication of the Butler Chapel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. The church building was largely built by Brethren volunteers working under the direction of Brethren Disaster Ministries (formerly Emergency Response/Service Ministries).

Butler Chapel’s original building was one of many destroyed by arsonists in the rash of church burnings in 1995-96. With funds from the National Council of Churches as well as other sources, and with the help of 300 volunteers working under the direction of Brethren Disaster Ministries, a new church building was constructed, debt-free.

The three-day celebration was marked by a wonderful mix of AME and Church of the Brethren members. The Sunday morning sermon was the only major address. But there were hundreds of “messages” seen and heard as greetings, hugs, warm embraces, tears of joy, and expressions of love. The whole event was a huge message of common faith and purpose, as two very different yet very alike denominations merged to thank God for what has happened at Butler Chapel.

However, the 10th anniversary event was much more than a focus on an attractive building. The building is simply a tool for all that is taking place in the facility. Butler Chapel AME Church is a relatively small rural (now becoming suburban) congregation. It appears that the small congregation is extending its witness in amazing ways. There are five choirs, a praise dance group of children–carefully trained in expressing worship through movement, and other events aimed at promoting dedicated discipleship. The exceptionally fine facility also has become a center for many district events.

From the moment that we stepped inside the church doors on Friday evening, until we departed on Sunday, the Brethren were treated as honored guests. There were carefully worded name tags, gift bags filled with all sorts of goodies, program booklets that included abundant information including the names of all who assisted in the construction of the new building, three delicious meals, as well as snacks. Even as we departed we received “snacks for the road,” and bottles of water wrapped with the picture of the Butler Chapel Church.

One highlight of the event was a celebration choir including as many Brethren who had some gift for singing. The choir spent more than an hour in a music workshop learning how to do church music in the Butler Chapel AME way. The AME choir calls it “botheration,” but the experience became ethereal for all who participated in the process.

The celebration also included a stirring “exercise hour,” all kinds of recognitions, prizes, gifts, and–above all else–hundreds of expressions of brotherly and sisterly love that amounted to a foretaste of heaven.

The delegation of Brethren included acting general secretary of the Church of the Brethren General Board, Mary Jo Flory-Steury; General Board members Russell Betz and Terrell Lewis, Brethren Disaster Ministries staff Roy Winter, Judy Bezon, and Jane Yount; staff volunteers of Brethren Disaster Ministries Glenn and Helen Kinsel, who have kept in contact with Butler Chapel for the past 10 years; several of the project directors who guided the building construction–John and Marianna Baker, Stanley Barkdoll, and Earl Dohner; former Brethren Volunteer Service worker Torin Eikler; a number of volunteers who were involved in the rebuilding; and even some other interested Brethren supporters.

It is the hope of all who attended that the relationship between our two denominations can be nurtured. This anniversary year is the right time to begin.

–Glenn E. Kinsel is a Brethren Disaster Ministries staff volunteer who helped with volunteer coordination for the building project at Butler Chapel, and with promotion of the anniversary event.

2) On Earth Peace delegation travels to the West Bank and Israel.

Thirteen delegates traveled through the West Bank and Israel from Jan. 8-21, on a trip sponsored jointly by On Earth Peace and Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). The group learned about the region’s history and politics from local leaders.

The delegation included Australians, a Canadian, and US Americans, ranging in age from 21 to 72. On Earth Peace executive director Bob Gross led the delegation. Other Brethren participants included Karen Carter, Indigo (Jamee) Eriksen, Anna Lisa Gross, Ron McAdams, and Marie Rhoades.

The group met with more than 20 organizations in five main communities of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, At-Tuwani, Hebron, and Efrat. Israeli, Palestinian, and international peace workers from groups such as Rabbis for Human Rights, the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, B’Tselem, Wi’am, and the Holy Land Trust shared about their work. The delegation also met with people whose daily lives are profoundly affected, and even at times completely preoccupied, with the political situation.

The snaking “security wall” which has been built with US tax dollars, is growing in the West Bank, the delegation found. The wall is dividing families from each other, workers from jobs, students from schools, and the faithful from holy sites. The wall also drastically reduces the size of the West Bank, and is leaving pockets of communities that are not accessible to each other. Israeli officials say the wall is a step toward safety, while peacemakers on all sides mourn the further divisions it brings between Israelis and Palestinians, resulting not in safety but greater ignorance and fear. Already since the wall was begun there are Israeli children who have never met a Palestinian, and Palestinian children who know Israelis only as soldiers.

The delegation heard the stories of pain and hopelessness, which are as commonplace as pita and hummus in the area. But the warm hospitality the group received, along with countless cups of tea and coffee, was a tribute to the strength of people to persevere. For many Palestinians, simple acts of daily life are powerful acts of nonviolent resistance, despite the oppression of the occupation. Although the delegation heard families’ stories of loss and anguish, warm cups of tea and brave words of hope were always given as well.

Morning devotions and evening gatherings were important to the group’s emotional stamina and spiritual health. In the midst of cold nights, schedule changes, and painful stories, the delegates appreciated each other’s flexibility and kindness. Singing and praying together was especially meaningful, and each delegate had a turn to prepare worship during the trip.

A special time of prayer took place in West Jerusalem, near the site of two suicide bombings that killed many Israeli citizens. Instances of suicide bombings has fallen to nearly zero in the past few years, but the fear of such unpredictable violence remains. The delegation prayed for safety for all people living in this holy and volatile land, and for creative work for peace and justice. As suicide bombings occur almost solely in situations of military occupation, the group also continued its prayer for an end to the occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

CPT has had a presence in Hebron since 1995. The CPT team in Hebron collaborates with local nonviolent activists and strives to communicate openly with soldiers and other armed groups as well. Their work includes monitoring checkpoints to influence Israeli soldiers to reduce violence toward and harassment of Palestinians. Twice a day, CPT team members watch as children pass through checkpoints to go to and from school, and believe their presence has made some difference in the soldiers’ treatment of the children and their teachers.

In At-Tuwani, a village south of Hebron, CPT’s daily school patrol monitors the safety of children passing between two (illegal) Israeli settlements. Children, as well as CPT team members, have been attacked and injured by settlers on the path to the school. The delegation joined CPT for a school patrol in both communities.

The group bade farewell in Jerusalem with renewed spirits of peacemaking, and many new commitments to share stories with their home communities, to continue in prayer and contemplation, and to do further education.

For more information about On Earth Peace, go to http://www.onearthpeace.org/. Visit the delegation’s blog at http://www.hebronblogspot.com/.

–Anna Lisa Gross is a student at Bethany Theological Seminary and a member of Richmond (Ind.) Church of the Brethren

3) Young Center raises more than $2 million to earn NEH grant.

The Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College has surpassed a $2 million fundraising goal to receive a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) challenge grant of $500,000.

The NEH Challenge Grant–one of only 17 grants awarded nationwide in 2004–was designed to strengthen the Young Center’s program and scholarship and solidify its standing as the nation’s only research institute for Anabaptist and Pietist groups. As the NEH grant required a 4:1 match, the Young Center needed to raise $2 million by Jan. 31. The center recently surpassed that goal by more than $100,000.

The resulting $2.5 million endowment will create a faculty chair in Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, enhance the Young Center’s Visiting Fellows Program, support research and teaching, and expand its collection of books and archival materials.

“The NEH challenge grant recognized the Young Center for its outstanding scholarship and programing on Anabaptist and Pietist groups,” said Elizabethtown president Theodore Long.

Director of church relations at Elizabethtown, Allen T. Hansell, directed the NEH challenge campaign for the Young Center. “This wonderful effort has enabled me to relate to many individuals and groups with deep roots in Anabaptism and Pietism, including my own Church of the Brethren,” he said. “The high regard for the Young Center actually made an enormous challenge relatively easy to achieve. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved, especially the generous donors, for helping to make this a highly successful campaign.”

Some statistics relevant to the fundraising effort:

  • 209 donors (86 percent are members of the Church of the Brethren)
  • 62 percent of donors live in the denomination’s Atlantic Northeast and Southern Pennsylvania Districts
  • 24 percent of donors are Brethren from across the denomination beyond the the two districts, and most gave in memory of the late professor Donald Durnbaugh. The Durnbaugh Legacy Endowment, which became
  • part of the NEH effort following his death, raised $377,000. Mrs. Hedwig T. Durnbaugh donated a large portion of professor Durnbaugh’s personal library of books and research papers to the Young Center.
  • 10 percent of donors were members of other Anabaptist and Pietist groups, and
  • 8 institutions (4 percent of the donors) contributed nearly $100,000.
  • Donors will be recognized at a gala in April, which also celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Young Center. The event will include a concert of hymnody of the Amish and Mennonite, Brethren, and Lutheran traditions, at 7 p.m. on April 5 in Leffler Chapel. The concert will feature members of the Elizabethtown College Concert Choir, members of the College-Community Chorus, and invited musicians from the local community, directed by Matthew P. Fritz, associate professor of music and director of choral activities at the college. A hymnody exhibit will open on March 26 at the Young Center.

–Mary Dolheimer is director of marketing and media relations for Elizabethtown College.

4) Efforts to preserve John Kline Homestead continue.

Efforts to preserve the John Kline Homestead are continuing, in an update from Paul Roth, president of the John Kline Homestead Board of Directors and pastor of Linville Creek Church of the Brethren in Broadway, Va. John Kline was a Brethren preacher and elder, and a martyr of the church during the Civil War years.

The Mennonite family who had lived on his farm in Broadway for six generations moved at the end of 2006. Four acres of the property were purchased by Park View Federal Credit Union on behalf of the Brethren until sufficient funds could be raised by a foundation that has been established to preserve the homestead for development as a heritage site. In a January letter to supporters of the effort, Roth reported on fundraising and development plans for the homestead, saying that “total gifts and pledges received are over $103,000.”

A fundraising campaign is being planned for 2008 to reach a $600,000 goal to purchase more than three acres of the more than nine acre property. An additional $600,000 would be needed to purchase the remaining acreage. Incorporation papers have been filed with the Commonwealth of Virginia so that contributions to the John Kline Homestead are tax deductible. A website has been posted with photos and updates, go to http://johnklinehomestead.com/.

A Church of the Brethren senior high workcamp is planned at the homestead on June 16-22 (go to http://www.brethren.org/ and click on “Key Words,” then “Youth and Young Adults”). In addition, a James Madison University professor will focus on the architectural design of the John Kline house and outbuildings with a spring semester class and research study on historic preservation. The class and study will pave the way for registration of the site with national and state historic site registries. In another development, Brethren horticulturalist Jason Stevens who works at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello Plantation, has offered to plant an orchard from saplings of 120-plus year old fruit trees and create designs for traditional Shenandoah Valley gardens.

At the 2008 Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, a display on the John Kline Homestead will be provided, and plans are underway for events and tours at the homestead as part of the celebrations of the 300th Anniversary of the Brethren.

Roth added an open invitation to “please contact us with your vision for the John Kline Homestead or questions you may have regarding its preservation.” Contact the John Kline Homestead at P.O. Box 174, Broadway, VA 22815.

5) Brethren bits: Job openings, NYAC, disaster podcast, and more.

  • The Global Mission Partnerships of the Church of the Brethren General Board seeks one couple or family to serve as part of the lead team to begin the new Sudan mission initiative. The initiative seeks to rebuild and heal communities in southern Sudan after decades of war, and will include the formation of churches. A complementary team that includes people bringing one or more of the following skill sets is preferable: peace and conflict transformation, healthcare, church planting and Christian education, community development preferably with experience in emerging nations, dealing with trauma, and literacy and adult education. Candidates should bring relevant education and experience in their areas of specialty, previous experience in international cross-cultural settings, grounding in Church of the Brethren identity and practice, and a team orientation. Secondary skills in repair or maintenance of computers, construction, or vehicle mechanics is useful. Team members will participate in raising their own support under General Board oversight. The application deadline has been extended, with a proposed timetable for interviews and decisions to be made and placement occurring during 2008. Request application forms from Karin Krog, Office of Human Resources, at 800-323-8039 ext. 258 or kkrog_gb@brethren.org.
  • There are only 15 days left for young adults to receive the reduced registration fee for National Young Adult Conference. After Feb. 14, the registration fee will rise from $300 per participant to $325. Young adults are encouraged to register and send in the full registration fee now to take advantage of this opportunity. Register online at http://www.nyac08.org/.
  • January’s podcast from Disaster News Network Radio focuses on the needs of children after a disaster and programs that make a difference in hundreds of young lives every year. Guests are Judy Bezon, associate director for Children’s Disaster Services, a program of the Church of the Brethren, and Mike Nevergall of Lutheran Disaster Response. Find the podcast at www.podcastvillage.com/aff/dnn/archive/374.
  • American participants in the annual workcamp to Nigeria sponsored by the Global Mission Partnerships of the Church of the Brethren General Board have been unable to travel this year because of lack of visas. The workcamp usually takes place from mid-January to mid-February, with participants from the US working alongside participants from Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN-the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) and others from Europe to advance a building project of EYN. Nigeria mission coordinator David Whitten is leading the workcamp for the Nigerian and European participants.
  • Peter Nead’s high hat, a particularly muddy baptism, a witness to the Johnstown (Pa.) flood, and the rescheduling of the end of the world are all part of the second set of Tercentennial Minutes available from Everett (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. The weekly one-minute meditations on Brethren history are suitable for reading in worship or sharing in Sunday school or in newsletters or bulletins. This second set covers the weeks of March 2-May 25, although they may be used at any time. The meditations were commissioned by the Everett Church Tercentennial Committee and are researched and written by pastor Frank Ramirez. They are provided free to any interested church. In addition, the Everett Church is making available another new resource: the late Vernard Eller’s original drama about the founding of the Church of the Brethren, “A Time So Urgent,” which has been adapted by Ramirez. The drama was commissioned for the 250th Anniversary but not performed until 1974, when La Verne (Calif.) College students toured Brethren congregations performing the drama. Ramirez was a member of the original cast. The adaptation shortens the drama from two hours to half an hour. It can be presented in costume and memorized, or performed as reader’s theater. Phyllis Eller has approved the adaptation for production and performance. Request these resources from ecob@yellowbananas.com.
  • The 2008 Youth Roundtable at Bridgewater (Va.) College on April 4-6 will meet on the theme, “PST…Celebrate! Peacefully, Simply, Together.” The theme was chosen to celebrate the Brethren heritage and look forward to and ponder the church’s future. Keynote speakers are Amy and Brian Messler, entertainment will be by comedian and musician Tony Wolf, and music by the Bridgewater College praise band “Outspoken.” The event will include singing led by the praise band, small group sessions, and a variety of workshops, as well as a Variety Show, recreation, and Bible study. Estimated cost is $43. For more go to www.bridgewater.edu/orgs/iyc.
  • McPherson (Kan.) College is presenting a Religious Heritage Lecture on the topic, “300 Years of History and Heritage: What Will the Next 100 Years Look Like?” on Feb. 10 at 4 p.m. in Mingenback Theater. A panel of Church of the Brethren leaders will present answers to this focus question, including Paul Hoffman, president emeritus of McPherson College; Ruthann Knechel Johansen, president of Bethany Theological Seminary; Lowell Flory, executive director of institutional advancement for Bethany; Jonathan Shively, director of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership; Rhonda Pittman Gingrich of the 300th Anniversary Committee; and Herb Smith, professor of religion and philosophy at McPherson, who will be the moderator.
  • Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., held a commemorative service for the original college chapel, now the registrar’s office in Founders Hall, on Jan. 24, according to a release from the college. This year, renovation of the hall will remove the north wing of the building including the former chapel. Founders Hall was built three years after the college was established, and included a chapel that would serve as home to the Huntingdon Brethren congregation for 31 years from 1879-1910. When Founders Hall was dedicated on April 17, 1879, in the chapel, President James Quinter gave a sermon and Jacob Zuck, Juniata’s first faculty member, was quoted saying, “The day of success is dawning.” The chapel, a vast open space capable of seating 500 people, was constructed without benefit of supporting pillars so that no one would have an interrupted sightline. This unique architecture required the builders to use a construction system that hung each floor of the building from massive trusses atop the building. Over time, vibration and stress from everyday use has caused the walls of the north wing to bow outward, resulting in cracks in the upper two floors, which were sealed off in 1979. The commemoration was led by college chaplain David Witkovsky and Dale and Christy Dowdy, co-pastors of Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, with Robert Neff, president of Juniata from 1987-98, speaking on the importance of the ties between Juniata and the Church of the Brethren.
  • Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., is commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech there on the topic “The Future of Integration” exactly 40 years ago on Feb. 1. The college will hold a convocation in Cordier Auditorium to commemorate the event with reflections, video and still photography, student recitals from King’s writing, and reflections by professor emeritus Kenneth L. Brown, recipient of the Fellowship of Reconciliation’s Martin Luther King Jr. Award. Music will be preformed by the college’s A Cappella Choir. The public is invited.
  • The annual COBYS Family Services informational/fundraising banquet on March 13 is looking to the presidential election for inspiration, with the theme, “Banquet for Better America.” “In this election year, COBYS Family Services is campaigning for your vote,” said a release. COBYS Family Services is a Church of the Brethren related agency that “educates, supports, and empowers children and adults to reach their full potential.” The banquet will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Middle Creek Church of the Brethren in Lititz, Pa. The program will feature a mock debate between representatives of COBYS and two imaginary organizations who are vying for support. Each will make their pitch for why attendees should support them with hard-earned dollars. The presentation will include stories of how COBYS is serving children and families in Christ’s name. Banquet attenders will cast their votes by dropping donations into the ballot box for the organization of their choice. The evening also will include music from the Keister Sisters of Buffalo Valley Church of the Brethren in Mifflinburg, Pa. There is no cost to attend, but reservations are required. For more information go to www.cobys.org/news.htm or contact Don Fitzkee at don@cobys.org or 717-656-6580. Those unable to attend can cast an absentee ballot by sending a banquet donation to COBYS Family Services, 1417 Oregon Rd., Leola, PA 17540.
  • The February edition of “Brethren Voices,” a program offering Brethren community television, features Brethren Disaster Ministries and disaster preparedness. Brethren Disaster Ministries continues to serve survivors more than two years after Hurricane Katrina. The program addresses the question, why has the Church of the Brethren historically taken such an active role in serving others following disasters? Brethren disaster volunteers provide some of the answers in video produced by David Sollenberger titled, “To Live Out Our Faith.” A district disaster coordinator, Brent Carlson, also shares information for disaster preparedness. In March, Brethren Voices will feature David Radcliff of the New Community Project, a Brethren related organization that provides environmental education to a wide range of groups including schools, camps, youth retreats, churches, and youth groups. For more information or to subscribe contact Ed Groff, producer of Brethren Voices, at Groffprod1@msn.com or 360-256-8550.
  • Churches working for peace amid a wave of post-electoral violence in Kenya will receive a pastoral visit by a delegation from the World Council of Churches (WCC). The group plans to be in Kenya from Jan. 30-Feb. 3, with its schedule subject to change according to conditions in the country. A wave of violence along ethnic lines has killed more than 700 people and obliged some 250,000 others to flee their homes, a release said. The visit is hosted by the National Council of Churches in Kenya. WCC general secretary Samuel Kobia is himself a Kenyan. The visit of the group, which is called “Living Letters,” is part of the WCC’s Decade to Overcome Violence (2001-10). About 40 such teams are expected to visit different countries until 2011.
  • Former Church of the Brethren missionary Ellen Edmister Cunningham celebrated her 101st birthday on Jan. 22. She and her late husband, E. Lloyd Cunningham, responded to a call for missionaries to go to China in 1938. After unrest developed in China they were in the Philippines for language study when Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941 and along with more than 400 other civilians they and their young son, Larry, were in a Japanese internment camp from 1941-45. The story of the internment experience was published in a recent issue of “Brethren Life and Thought.” Coming home after liberation in 1945, the Cunninghams returned to China in 1947 only to be forced out by the communists in 1949. While in Hong Kong, awaiting passage home, they received word that the mission field in India needed a doctor so the family, with two children by then, went on to India. “Ellen Edmister Cunningham has lived at San Joaquin Gardens in Fresno, California, for 27 years, in independent living until this past summer when she moved to assisted living. Although her eyesight is limited, making reading difficult, she ‘listens’ to three books a week from the Library of Congress talking book program,” reported Brethren Historical Committee member Marlin Heckman.

6) Shively resigns from academy to lead Congregational Life Ministries.

Jonathan Shively has resigned as director of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, a ministry training partnership of the Church of the Brethren General Board and Bethany Theological Seminary with offices in Richmond, Ind. The resignation is effective June 30.

On July 1, he will begin as executive director of Congregational Life Ministries for the General Board, working out of the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. He and his family will be relocating to the Elgin area.

During Shively’s tenure, the Brethren Academy has strengthened its certificate level training programs, received a $2 million dollar grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. for the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence program, provided leadership for church planting seminars, and engaged constituents in cross-cultural ministry training conversations. Shively has provided leadership for an emerging commitment to a missional church perspective at the seminary, and has taught graduate and academy courses on leadership and church growth. He also has directed a joint choir of Bethany Seminary and Earlham School of Religion, that sings at a shared chapel service.

As executive director of Congregational Life Ministries, Shively will provide leadership for the staff of the General Board’s Congregational Life Team and the Youth and Young Adult Ministry and Workcamp Ministry, as well as leadership for workshops, seminars, and academic classes.

In past positions in the church, he served on the Pacific Southwest District Board as chair 1997-2000, and pastored Pomona (Calif.) Fellowship Church of the Brethren from 1993-2000, when he was called as director of the academy. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, a master of divinity degree from Bethany, and a doctor of ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary.

7) Hardenbrooks to serve in Nigeria before going to Sudan.

Jim and Pam Hardenbrook, members of the lead team for the Church of the Brethren’s Sudan mission initiative, will spend a semester teaching at Kulp Bible College in Nigeria before going to southern Sudan later this year. They will go in February, pending their receiving visas for entry into Nigeria.

Kulp Bible College is a ministry of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). “We are delighted that the Hardenbrooks can offer their gifts in this interim teaching role while the Sudan team continues to form,” said Mervin Keeney, executive director of Global Mission Partnerships for the Church of the Brethren General Board. “This interim placement will be productive for both mission efforts. The understandings they will gain working with the Nigerian church will be tremendously valuable when they move into Sudan.”

Keeney also clarified that Nigeria mission funds will support the Hardenbrooks while they are in Nigeria, not money they have been raising for the Sudan work.

A search continues for personnel to complete the Sudan team, which became incomplete when Matt and Kristy Messick withdrew. “The team model has been central for achieving the dual outcomes of church planting and community development that is the vision for the Sudan initiative,” said director Brad Bohrer.

8) Rhoades to join On Earth Peace as peace education coordinator.

Marie Rhoades will join the staff of On Earth Peace as peace education coordinator, as of February. The peace education program is dedicated to developing leadership for peace in each new generation.

Rhoades has previous ministry experience with youth in congregational, district, and camp settings. At On Earth Peace, she will continue peace education by providing educational materials, interactive workshops, peace retreats, and other opportunities for youth and adults to grow in peacemaking leadership. The peace education program teaches youth to embrace creative Christian peacemaking, and reminds adults to follow Jesus’ way of thoughtful, creative, and prayerful nonviolence.

Rhoades has studied philosophy and religion at McPherson (Kan.) College and holds a master of divinity degree from Lancaster Theological Seminary. She is a member of Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren and has recently joined the Place Apart community, a Brethren related intentional community in Putney, Vt. She plans to carry out her ministry with On Earth Peace from Vermont. Congregations seeking new ways to teach peace are encouraged to contact her at marie.oepa@gmail.com or 717-917-9392.

Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren General Board, cobnews@brethren.org or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Brad Bohrer, Don Fitzkee, Marlin Heckman, Bekah Houff, Merv Keeney, Gimbiya Kettering, Jeri S. Kornegay, Karin Krog, Janis Pyle, Paul Roth, Steve Spire, and John Wall contributed to this report. Newsline appears every other Wednesday, with other special issues sent as needed. The next regularly scheduled issue is set for Feb. 13. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. For more Brethren news and features, subscribe to “Messenger” magazine, call 800-323-8039 ext. 247.

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